About GET S.E.R.E.ous

Ben has been teaching Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) continually since 1981 when he joined the USAF as a “Survival Instructor”. In that Thirty plus year period he has taught all aspects of SERE, trained at both domestic and international schools, written SERE doctrine and Instruction, researched and developed cutting edge programs for dealing with both the psychological and physical challenges of survival, tested new equipment, written numerous papers on equipment and SERE related disorders, and taught thousands of classes. Ben’s research and program development is the basis for many of the national and international survival schools in operation today. He is a USAF Master Instructor. The groups and individuals which Ben has instructed and/or developed programs for include people from all walks of life and from every unit and agency imaginable. Members of the Rangers, Green Berets, Para-rescue, Combat Control, Navy SEALs, Air Force Crew Members and MARSOC have all been his students. Outside the military he has taught people from the DEA, Local Law Enforcement, Department of Natural Resources, the FBI and other Federal Agencies. Equally adept at teaching civilian groups, Ben has instructed various lessons and developed complete programs for groups such as the Girls Scouts of America, South Carolina Public Schools’ at risk student programs, Covenant Heights of Colorado, Mountain Shepherd Wilderness Survival School, ISOCAP and SBS Training Solutions Ben’s unique ability to Plan and Survive assists in the development of some of the most advanced survival kits, emergency egress and disaster mitigation systems in the world. With over 12 years in the disaster mitigation and security fields his advice on the development of the USI PSK, “Roly-Poly” and Black Swan product Lines are irreplaceable and his knowledge of the physical and psychological aspects of both manmade and natural disasters is unparalleled in the survival world. Ben also brings to the table a long list of constituents which he relies on for support information. These experts from the medical, combat, law enforcement and psychology fields which makes his programs and survival systems more than a “One man show” Universal Survival Innovations relies on people like Ben, as well as other experts in their fields, to produce the best programs and emergency kits in existence. With constant product testing and research, USI continually upgrades their training and equipment to keep current with the needs of their many clients. Items such as the HTI water systems, Photon light and Klymit Argon gas sleeping pads are just a few of the many products which USI independently tests for use in their instruction and survival systems. Investing money, time and effort into customer needs is one of the many reasons Universal Survival Innovations is fast becoming the cornerstone of Global Survival.

Bring Back The Mountain Man – Jim Beckwourth – Part One

Bring Back The Mountain Man

Jim Beckwourth ( 1798-1866 ) A documented Mountain Man – Part One

We have chosen Jim Beckwourth’s history as our first Mountain Man to share with our readers. By far he is one of the most venturesome and daring of the many that recorded history has left us. We have acquired most of  our information from the James Pierson Beckwourth biography site.

Snow covered cabin in Canada.

 

James Pierson Beckwourth was born in 1798 in Frederick County Virginia. His mother was an African American slave and his father an Englishman, Sir Jennings Beckwith.  His father raised him as his own son, but he was still legally considered a slave, although attempts were made to emancipate him. There is no explanation why the difference in the spelling of the last name, which often happened over time.

Early on, the family moved to Missouri and Jim was apprenticed to a blacksmith in St. Louis as a young man. When Beckwourth was about twenty-four and unhappy as an apprentice there was a dispute with his boss and Jim left home. It was 1822 and he went on an expedition to the lead mines in the Fever River area. His travels took him to New Orleans, but this brief adventure soon ended and he returned home to his fathers. It wasn’t long before he was struck with wanderlust again and in 1824 he signed up with General William Ashley for a trapping expedition to the Rocky Mountains. adobestock_47197649_wm

Thus, began Jim Beckwourth’s explorations and a major role in American history, although he was dismissed by many historians of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Many were very blatant about their prejudices of this “mongrel of mixed blood”. Even though there were numerous people of many races and nationalities on the frontier, Beckwourth was the only African American who recorded his life story. His adventurous nature took him from the everglades of Florida to the Pacific Ocean and then from southern Canada to northern Mexico. All of this he dictated in his autobiography to Thomas D. Bonner, an itinerant Justice of the Peace in the gold fields of California. It was 1854-55 when Beckwourth dictated his story. Once Bonner had “polished up” a rough narrative the book, The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth, Mountaineer, Scout and Pioneer, and Chief of the Crow Nation of Indians was published by Harper and Brothers in 1856.

It would appear that the book achieved some amount of popular success as it was followed by an English edition in the same year, a second printing two years later, and then in 1860 a French translation was introduced.  The following quotes give us an idea of how historians look back on this Mountain Man:

Stich, Abbildung, engraving, gravure : 1863.

 

“ But Beckwourth was a man of his times, and for the early fur trappers of the Rockies, the ability to ‘spin a good yarn’ was a skill valued almost as highly as marksmanship or woodsmanship. And while Beckwourth certainly had a tendency to exaggerate numbers or to occasionally make himself the hero of events that happened to other people, later historians have discovered that much of what Beckwourth related in his autobiography actually occurred. Truth is often something much bigger than merely the accuracy of details. And to discover the truth of what life was like for the fur trappers of the 1820’s, the Crow Indians of the 1830’s, the pioneers of the Southwest in the 1840’s, or the gold miners of California in the 1850’s, you can find no better source than the life of Jim Beckwourth”.

 Found in the Notes of the site was this rather funny story we think you will enjoy:

The Gaudy Liar:

An often-told story has it that when the book appeared, a group of miners who were well-acquainted with Beckwourth commissioned one of its members to pick up a copy while on a trip to San Francisco. But the man, being careless, got a copy of the Bible instead. In the evening, he was requested to read aloud from the long-awaited book, and opening it at random, he hit upon and read the story of Samson and the foxes. “That’ll do!” one of the men cried. “I’d know that story for one of Jim’s lies anywhere!”

We will continue the story of Jim Beckwourth in Part Two telling of his adventures once he went on the trapping expedition in the Rocky Mountains with General William Ashley and his company of trappers.

 

 

 

 

Overall preparation for what nature can throw at us is not that overwhelming but it does take a little effort. USI has a wealth of information, equipment and training for everyone about all forms of mitigation so visit our web site at www.usiusa.com and if you have a need feel free to call!

USI Understands that Survival isn’t learned from books but real world experience. This is just one area which makes Universal Survival Innovations unique in the world of training and equipment.

Check us out at: Website   Facebook   Twitter   Amazon   LinkedIn   YouTube   Shop

Author Ben Barr is a 30+ year SERE Specialist who has been a curriculum developer for the USAF Survival School, USAF Water Survival School, USAF Air Mobility Command, USMC and USN

Copyright® Universal Survival Innovations 2016

Disclaimer, Content Usage, Limitation of Liability, and Privacy Policy

 

Bring Back The Mountain Man – What was the typical Mountain Man like?

Bring Back The Mountain Man

What was a typical Mountain Man like? Today’s men or women probably wouldn’t be able to live a “true” mountain man’s existence, although there are some modern men who have chosen a similar type of life as the historical Mountain Man. They are known to roam in the mountains of the west or in the swamps of the southern United States. This is hard to fathom with the lifestyle of most of us!

But what exactly would an 1800’s Mountain Man look and be like. We can only go on what few records and pictures were preserved over the years, but there is enough information remaining that we know the life of a mountain man was rugged. It is said that they didn’t usually last more than several years in the wilderness. Either they gave up and returned to a more settled life or some tragedy occurred to stop their angel of death.adventurous ways. They faced many hazards, as can be imagined. They were exploring unmapped areas. It is hard to imagine that kind of life with today’s conveniences!

There were the biting insects, many and varied wildlife and often not so friendly Indian tribes. There was bad weather, diseases of all kinds, injuries, and above all was the threat of the mentioned hostile tribes. This presented constant physical dangers. The grizzly bear was one danger to be confronted with and one of the greatest enemies. But the winters could be brutal also, posing a danger. There would be heavy snows and very low temperatures. Our comforts now make it hard to imagine what it could be like. Even though they were hardy and knew how to handle most situations it remained a very difficult life as they scouted for hides and searched for their own food.

Snow covered cabin in Canada.

Snow covered cabin in Canada.

In order to maintain such a lifestyle these mountain men had to have keen senses and a knowledge of herbal remedies and the need to know first aid. These were just a few of the skills they had learned over the years that kept them alive. In the summer, it was not quite as difficult since they could catch fish, build shelters and hunt for food and skins. The Mountain Man usually dressed in deer skins which gave them some protection against the weapons of certain enemies. Just imagine, there were no doctors or nurses anywhere near; therefore, they had to set their own broken bones, tend their own wounds and handle any rashes or other medical needs.

Their diet was that of the native tribes in the areas where they were trapping. Coffee was the only exception to this rule. Usually fresh red meat, bison, fowl and fish were available. There were some plant foods, such as fruit and berries which were easy to find and eat. Often times the Mountain Man would trade with the friendly tribes for prepared foods. These foods could be processed roots, dried meat and pemmican.

A buffalo eats grass on the range.

A buffalo eats grass on the range.

Pemmican was a concentrated food used by the North American Indians and consisted of lean meat dried, pounded fine, and mixed with melted fat. Unfortunately, there were times when the weather and crisis forced the Mountain Man to slaughter and eat his horse or mule. Such things are beyond comprehension for many who have not had to “fend for themselves”.

Today, it is hard to really appreciate what a true Mountain Man was like. We find it difficult to imagine the hardship and trials they faced. But also, we know there were those who really liked that type of life and thrived on the adventure. Next, we will discuss some of the known Mountain Men who have left a historical record for us to understand personalities.

 

 

 

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Overall preparation for what nature can throw at us is not that overwhelming but it does take a little effort. USI has a wealth of information, equipment and training for everyone about all forms of mitigation so visit our web site at www.usiusa.com and if you have a need feel free to call!

USI Understands that Survival isn’t learned from books but real world experience. This is just one area which makes Universal Survival Innovations unique in the world of training and equipment.

Check us out at: Website   Facebook   Twitter   Amazon   LinkedIn   YouTube   Shop

Author Ben Barr is a 30+ year SERE Specialist who has been a curriculum developer for the USAF Survival School, USAF Water Survival School, USAF Air Mobility Command, USMC and USN

Copyright® Universal Survival Innovations 2016

Disclaimer, Content Usage, Limitation of Liability, and Privacy Policy

 

Bring Back The Mountain Man – History Of The Mountain Man

Bring Back The Mountain Man

History Of The Mountain Man – As the early settlers came to America so evolved the term “Mountain Man”, known as the explorers and trappers of the new settlement. They were most common in the North American Rocky Mountains from the early 1800’s through the 1880’s. Their hunting and travels helped to open various emigrant trails that later widened into wagon roads.  The wagon roads allowed these new Americans in the east to begin settling the west with planned wagon trains. adobestock_60296780_wm

The North American fur trade gave rise to lucrative earnings once the 1806-07 published accounts of the Lewis and Clark expeditions became known. Thus, arose the natural geographic and economic scene of fur trapping and also the Mountain Man became an invaluable asset to the market. It is believed that about 3,000 mountain men ranged the mountains between 1820 and 1840 which was the peak of the beaver-harvesting and other fur bearing animal period. There were two types of mountain men, free trappers and those employed by the major fur companies. Those with the fur companies found themselves to be much like being in the military. These men had mess groups, hunted and trapped in brigades and always reported to the head of the trapping party, the leader of the brigade and the head trader.

Over all, mountain men were ethnically, socially and religiously diverse, independent and obviously adventurous! They fit no stereotype. Even though they adhered to being independent they were really economically an arm of the big fur companies. The companies held annual fairs for the mountain men to sell their wares. These events were called trappers’ rendezvous and were held in the spring for the companies to adobestock_70996356_wmreturn with pelts to communities on Missouri and Mississippi rivers, like St. Louis. This system of rendezvous with trappers was used by various fur companies.

By the mid-1830’s such sites as the Upper Green River Rendezvous Site, near what is now present-day Pinedale, Wyoming could attract as many as 500 trappers who had been working the area for fur to later sell. They were usually all the American trappers and traders working the Rockies, but there were many Native Americans. Like any good businessman, the mountain man was motivated by profit, trapping for beaver and other skins to sell. But there was the adventurer who was interested in exploring the West and traded solely to support his passion. One might say a mountain man was often part trader, part explorer, part trapper and some settlers. There were some who were farmers or hired army scouts and survived by having good relations with one or more native tribes. Often the mountain man was multilingual out of necessity to remain in the area. It was not unusual for the mountain man to take a Native American wife.

Silhouette of a witch-hunter of arrows. Fantasy concept

There is a romanticized stereotypical mountain man that has come down over the years. He is depicted as being dressed in buckskin and coonskin hat. He has bushy facial hair and carries a Bowie knife, often called a “scalpin’ knife”. They were known as honorable men with their own code of living-loners who would help those in need, but who had found their home in the wild and there, was content.

More about the Mountain Man’s life to come!

 

 

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Overall preparation for what nature can throw at us is not that overwhelming but it does take a little effort. USI has a wealth of information, equipment and training for everyone about all forms of mitigation so visit our web site at www.usiusa.com and if you have a need feel free to call!

USI Understands that Survival isn’t learned from books but real world experience. This is just one area which makes Universal Survival Innovations unique in the world of training and equipment.

Check us out at: Website   Facebook   Twitter   Amazon   LinkedIn   YouTube   Shop

Author Ben Barr is a 30+ year SERE Specialist who has been a curriculum developer for the USAF Survival School, USAF Water Survival School, USAF Air Mobility Command, USMC and USN

Copyright® Universal Survival Innovations 2016

Disclaimer, Content Usage, Limitation of Liability, and Privacy Policy

 

Water-Our Most Vital Resource – Can We Meet Our Needs?

Water – Our Most Vital Resource

Can We Meet Our Water Needs? For our closing blog on water-our most vital resource, we will use an article written by Alexandra Groome with Regeneration International http://regenerationinternational.org, a project of the Organic Consumers Association http://www.organicconsumers.org. He uses a book written by journalist Judith D. Schwartz, titled Water in Plain Sight: Hope for a Thirsty World, to give what could be a solution to the water crisis we have been discussing in previous blogs. This blog is a paraphrase of Groomes article. We encourage you to seek out the full article titled: Re-thinking the Water Crisis: With a Little Creativity, We Can Meet our Water Needs

Groome points out that seventy-one percent of Earth’s surface is covered with water. Yet only 2.5 percent of Earth’s water is freshwater, of which only a small proportion is actually available to meet the needs of humans and animals. Some of this water is locked up in glaciers and ice as part of the explanation. Water is life as we have

Forest stream running over mossy rocks

Forest stream running over mossy rocks

mentioned numerous times in our other articles. We are at the mercy of it and vulnerable to its scarcity!

Schwartz gives a number of examples of how some farmers worldwide are solving the water shortage problem. Unfortunately, it would be difficult to list all the web sites an info, so we encourage you to go to the original article and review the web sites that give an international overview of the issue. The key she uses is “managing water by mimicking nature.” Most of us have heard about the couple in the Texas desert who harvests dew to meet their needs and those of their many guests. She goes on to give sites to read from Zimbabwe to Mexico. One site that may peak your interest is: http.//regenerationinternational.org/Land-Restoration-With-Holistic-Management. This is an approach to livestock management that mimic natural systems. She says “Their efforts have successfully restored the water cycle and local biodiversity, and allowed rural villagers to get off the international food aid.”

Since the COP21 Paris Climate Summit there has been a more determined approach to managing water involving revitalizing soil. “One third of our excess atmospheric CO2 can be attributed to huge losses of carbon in the soil, primarily due to destructive adobestock_117446372_wmagriculture and land use practices such as deforestation, soil-tillage and  leaving soil bare.” Because we have disrupted the carbon cycle we have also disrupted the water cycle, says Schwartz. Carbon is essential to retaining water in the ground.

The article goes on to explain how we have altered climate dynamics and how history has cautionary stories of communities who have depleted their soil or chopped down forests, only to suffer floods and droughts. “The moral of the story: Carbon-rich soil and the plants it sustains help manage the water cycle, and the water cycle drives weather and climate.” The question is asked if we can actually avert both a climate crisis and water crisis by, at least in part, paying more attention to how we manage water?

Schwartz believes we can! Farmers worldwide http://regenerationinternatonal.org/farmers-are-capitalizing-on-carbon-sequestration are choosing to work with the carbon cycle, she says! Her point is that if farmers use the land-use practices we can restore carbon to the soil and most importantly restore the Earth’s natural water cycles. “Every 1-percent increase in soil carbon represents an additional 20,000 gallons per acre that the land can hold.”adobestock_76588282_wm

Schwartz is convinced what stops us from solving our water problems is imagination. “It’s because most of us, in particular people who make decisions, and the policymakers, are disconnected from the natural processes that govern the flow of water.” What does she suggest? “a very important thing is what food you buy, what clothing you buy and learning more about the practices that are generating the food and fiber that we use in our lives.”

As we close out the series on water we hope you have gained knowledge of what you might be able to do to encourage better management of our most valuable and vital source – water! Please make yourself aware of your local scene. How does your community use and support water management and conservation. If you have a homestead and farm or if you have a garden in your backyard, practice good adobestock_74994751_wmmanagement of the resources. No small amount of good practice goes unnoticed to the earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall preparation for what nature can throw at us is not that overwhelming but it does take a little effort. USI has a wealth of information, equipment and training for everyone about all forms of mitigation so visit our web site at www.usiusa.com and if you have a need feel free to call!

USI Understands that Survival isn’t learned from books but real world experience. This is  just one area which makes Universal Survival Innovations unique in the world of training and equipment.

Check us out at: Website   Facebook   Twitter   Amazon   LinkedIn   YouTube   Shop

Author Ben Barr is a 30+ year SERE Specialist who has been a curriculum developer for the USAF Survival School, USAF Water Survival School, USAF Air Mobility Command, USMC and USN

Copyright® Universal Survival Innovations 2016

Disclaimer, Content Usage, Limitation of Liability, and Privacy Policy

 

Water-Our Most Vital Resource – Everyone’s Concern

Water – Our Most Vital Resource

Everyone’s Concern – Most of us do not think much about water, how safe and clean it is, but it should be everyone’s concern. We have mentioned in our other blogs about how individuals could take action and make their own water safer.  But we also know

A water drop from a leaf causing a ripple on the surface reflecting a green jungle atmosphere

A water drop from a leaf causing a ripple on the surface reflecting a green jungle atmosphere

there is a bigger picture and much more information than space allows. What we will do in the next two blogs is point out some additional apprehension about the future but in closing on this subject we will offer a “re-thinking the water crisis”

First, let us look at a recent article: On September 20, 2016 the non-profit organization Environmental Working Group (EWG) published a paper titled ‘Erin Brockovich’ Carcinogen In Tap Water Of More Than 200 Million Americans. Most of us know who Erin Brockovich is from the stand she took against a power company that polluted the tap water in Hinkley, California.  It was later made into a movie and now she is back to use her name and concern about what has been discovered in most everyone’s drinking water! One of her most famous lines was when she offered the lawyer a drink of water and says “ We had that water brought in ‘specially for you folks. Came from a well in Hinkley”.  If you have not seen the movie or know the story, if may be worth your time.

It has been twenty-five year (25) since this real life confrontation but the issue, chromium-6, is not over. “A new EWG analysis of federal data from nationwide drinking water tests show that the compound contaminates water supplies for more than 200 million Americans in all 50 states.” The controversy remains and seems to be at a standstill as to why the cleanup has not occurred. Scientist and the industry remain locked in a decision. The scientist and advocates want regulations based strictly on the chemical’s health hazards while industry, political and economic interests want more adobestock_53466252_wmrelaxed rules based on cost and feasibility of cleanup. “If the industry challenge prevails it will also extend the Environmental Protection Agency’s record, since the 1996 landmark amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act, of failing to use its authority to set a  national tap water safety standard for the previously unregulated chemical”. Studies by scientist continue to show that this toxin in our water is dangerous in numerous ways including cancer. The article is long and involved but can be read in full by going to www.ewgorg/research/chromium6-in-tap-water.

One last article that concerns water and our future to have a safe and clean supply is titled: The New “Water Barons”: Wall Street Mega-Banks are Buying up the World’s Water.  The original source of this article is Market Oracle and written by Jo-Shing Yang an independent researcher and author. It was first published in December 21, 2012 by Market Oracle and Global Research.

Forest stream running over mossy rocks

Forest stream running over mossy rocks

The article warns of the new “water barons” – the Wall Street banks and elitist multibillionaires that are buying up water all over the world. These different individuals and companies are buying up thousands of acres of land with aquifers, lakes, water rights, water utilities and shares in water engineering and technology companies.

As if this is not enough to be of concern, governments are limiting citizens ability to become water self-sufficient. One case to note is the well-publicized issue of Gary Harrington in Oregon. His attempt to

goldfish jumping out of the water

goldfish jumping out of the water

collect rainwater in three ponds on his private land was criminalized and he was sentenced to 30 days in jail.  A quote by Andrew Liveris, CEO of DOW Chemical Company said, “Water is the oil of the 21st Century.” (quoted in The Economist magazine, August 21, 2008)

Again, we remind you, these articles are very in-depth and we have only given a very basic introduction to the materials. If you find it something you also are concerned about please go to these articles and read in full. Our last blog on this subject will be a more positive theme of what might be done for all of us to have safe and clean water.

 

 

Overall preparation for what nature can throw at us is not that overwhelming but it does take a little effort. USI has a wealth of information, equipment and training for everyone about all forms of mitigation so visit our web site at www.usiusa.com and if you have a need feel free to call! USI understands that Survival isn’t learned from books but real world experience. This is just one area which makes Universal Survival Innovations unique in the world of training and equipment.

 

Check us out at: Website   Facebook   Twitter   Amazon   LinkedIn   YouTube   Shop

Author Ben Barr is a 30+ year SERE Specialist who has been a curriculum developer for the USAF Survival School, USAF Water Survival School, USAF Air Mobility Command, USMC and USN

Copyright® Universal Survival Innovations 2016

Disclaimer, Content Usage, Limitation of Liability, and Privacy Policy

 

Water-Our Most Vital Resource- Nation Wide

Water- Our Most Vital Resource

Nation Wide- In our first two inquiries concerning water in the United States we looked at the home and how we, as individuals, might carefully seek ways to keep our water clean and safe. We then looked at the community and again how we might not be a part of the problem. Now, as we look further into the water quality and supply in the United States we will point out some of the areas of the country that already have problems and then what lays ahead. Flint, Michigan is not the only place called attention to with water pollution. In August of 2016 according to AgMag and an article by Brett Lorenzen, Director of Midwest Outreach, Des Moines, Iowa Water Works warned customers of elevated levels of microcystins, a toxin created by bacteria, in their drinking water. Such toxins can cause a myriad of problems from liver failure to other serious health issues.

Woman taking clear water at a lake by hands

Woman taking clear water at a lake by hands

It’s pretty scary when one is told to avoid consuming too much water, since dehydration in August can certainly occur. The irony of such a situation is that the Water Works is under no obligation to warn the public.  The EPA has set no legal limit on this toxin. This type of problem is not new to Des Moines as they regularly face such issues. Being a big farm area this is one of the sites in the US that has severe runoff of toxins from industrial agriculture.

Going all the way across the country, and as recent as September 16, 2016, we find that pipeline operator, Colonial Pipeline, has announced a gasoline pipeline spill has occurred in Alabama and the governor has declared a state of emergency. This doesn’t just affect Alabama but also, Georgia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina. The pipeline leak has spilled 6,000 barrels of gasoline in rural Alabama to date. They will begin digging up the line, but no one knows the total amount of gasoline that will soak into the soil and eventually gravitate to water sources.  Pipelines are perhaps a necessity, but also can be a liability. Further on we find the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Native Americans fighting for their land not to have a pipeline go through it under the Missouri River. Not only have their burial grounds been bulldozed but the possibility of the pipeline breaking concerns the Natives for their water supply, just as we are seeing on the East Coast.

As if there are not enough concerns already about water we must also face the fact that our drinking water everywhere is being contaminated through human drug waste in sewage and medicine flushed down toilets. Just consider the sheer number of Americans taking drugs such as statins, acid reflux, antidepressants, blood thinners, and the list goes on. All of these end up in our waterways eventually and only a certain amount can be treated through waste water treatment centers. Organic Consumers Association reports that the testing of New Orleans water found pain reliever naproxen, the sex hormone estrone and cholesterol drug byproducts. We are just beginning to realize all the drugs prescribed, and many not, ending up in our water and causing problems. Unfortunately, the first signs of drugs being in our water show up in the fish. As early as 2003 fish became the indicator we had a problem with drugs in our waterways. But drugs don’t just come from the individuals, “factory farms” are also a big source of drugs in the water.

One last point to be made about the danger of clean water becoming a rare commodity are the aging pipes and outdated treatment plants that threaten our nation’s drinking water systems. Many of our treatment plants are using nearly century-old technology. Rusty pipe and valvePoliticians hold off on “things not seen” to make a bigger “splash” with things seen. The treatment plants are not the only antiquated concern, our pipes leading to homes and businesses are equally old.  The Bush administration committed $850 million a year through 2018 for assistance to the nation’s drinking water systems, according to the EPA, but it is estimated it will take $500 billion over the next twenty years to really fix the nation’s public water system.

With such a gloomy picture we want to look for solutions and that will be our focus in the next of this series. There are ways to “Re-think” the water crisis as one such article promises. We will take a look at that article and see what is suggested.  

                     

 

 

 

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Overall preparation for what nature can throw at us is not that overwhelming but it does take a little effort. USI has a wealth of information, equipment and training for everyone about all forms of mitigation so visit our web site at www.usiusa.com and if you have a need feel free to call!

USI Understands that Survival isn’t learned from books but real world experience. This is just one area which makes Universal Survival Innovations unique in the world of training and equipment.

Check us out at: Website   Facebook   Twitter   Amazon   LinkedIn   YouTube   Shop

Author Ben Barr is a 30+ year SERE Specialist who has been a curriculum developer for the USAF Survival School, USAF Water Survival School, USAF Air Mobility Command, USMC and USN

Copyright® Universal Survival Innovations 2016

Disclaimer, Content Usage, Limitation of Liability, and Privacy Policy

 

Water – Our Most Vital Resource – In Our Community

Water – Our Most Vital Resource

In Our Community – We hope you have taken time to read the first of the new series about water here in the United States. If you have, you may be considering changing some of your own personal habits at home. You may have taken a minute to look around you to see what kind of products you use to “clean” and sanitize your house! If you did and you also read the ingredients you are aware that they are very toxic and possibly cause some of the health issues you may have with members of your family. Now, let’s discuss the water coming into your house, the process of it getting there and is it clean!

We pointed out in the first article the issue of Flint, Michigan and how their water supply was poisoned by the lead in it and that it was so high it could be declared as hazardous waste. According to sources, it is just a matter of time till other areas in the country will be having a drinking water disaster. Such places as Philadelphia, and Chicago and many other cities have old lead pipes receiving and dispersing water into residence and businesses. That could be just the beginning of municipal water pollution crisis.  Clean drinking water sources are now polluted in a number of places throughout the United States. They are polluted because of treated and untreated sewage, by animal feeding operations, industrial discharges and chemicals used in agriculture. Old pipes and adobestock_76588282_wmfixtures can be replaced, but all the toxins in our drinking water cannot be removed, even with the advanced technology we have today. That is what we will discuss a little here in our second article and it will again involve you, the home owner.

There are many things causing environmental pollution, but the ones we hear the most about is industry and cars. We don’t think about today’s food production, our modern way of producing food! Many of us can remember when we grew most of our food and if not there was a market close by that grew it and it was all local. Today, your food may be grown local but on a much larger scale and certainly is not life sustaining but chemical dependent and striping the soil of its nutrients, destroying critical soil microbes from over plowing and adding toxic fertilizer or spraying for pest. All of these farmlands are saturated with toxic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers that then, because of runoff goes into our ground water, rivers, lakes and oceans. What happens? Dangerous levels of nitrogen can end up in your drinking water. We now have grasslands and pastures that have been eliminated and the consequences is that much of the natural filtering of ground water is just not there.  It is industrial crops that are chemical driven and causing health risk that we read about often. Mass production drives the industry, without adobestock_103491117_wmthought to consequences. At one time in our history we allowed crop rotation and large fields to rest. This would cut too much into the profits though today

So, where do you play a part in this? There are a number to things one can do and USI Team tries to do many of the things suggested. If you have a home and have grass that you want to look pristine, you probably use fertilizer, right! Remember, that can end back up in your community water system. If you must have green grass, try finding organic nutrients or do as we do, have a compost pile that produces good soil and acts as a fertilizer. It is not only used in the garden but also on places in the yard that need the extra nourishment. You may be the only one without green grass all the time but you can smile and know you are not contributing to the problem as we discussed about household toxins. For the garden and any of the plants you plan to eat, there is Fish Emulsion which is organic and much healthier for the plants and the end product which you will consume. Again, research how you can better help your health and your families by not using toxins in your yard and garden. USI also has a facebook site that talks about alternative ways to a healthier way of life – it is Nancy’s Health Tips. Check it out, there may be suggestions that you will want to try.

 

 

 

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Overall preparation for what nature can throw at us is not that overwhelming but it does take a little effort. USI has a wealth of information, equipment and training for everyone about all forms of mitigation so visit our web site at www.usiusa.com and if you have a need feel free to call!

USI Understands that Survival isn’t learned from books but real world experience. This is just one area which makes Universal Survival Innovations unique in the world of training and equipment.

Check us out at: Website   Facebook   Twitter   Amazon   LinkedIn   YouTube   Shop

Author Ben Barr is a 30+ year SERE Specialist who has been a curriculum developer for the USAF Survival School, USAF Water Survival School, USAF Air Mobility Command, USMC and USN

Copyright® Universal Survival Innovations 2016

Disclaimer, Content Usage, Limitation of Liability, and Privacy Policy

 

Water- Our Most Vital Resource – In Our Homes

Water – Our Most Vital Resource

In Our Homes – This new series about water safety and cleanliness will take a closer look at our own environment in the United States and our community. Do we have issues? Just a few months ago our attention was on Flint, Michigan and the water toxins that they endured. Until then, you may not have given much thought about the glass of water taken from your tap! With the “too late” breaking news we saw how bad decisions and ignored problems with toxic water caused an entire area to have polluted water, health issues and a myriad of future problems. Now it will take generations for the AdobeStock_74994751_WMcommunity to recover from the damage. But before we get into how the water gets into your house, where it comes from and what treatment it has gone through, let us take a look at what you might be doing that adds to any problems in the local community! We feel pretty sure your response will be that you are not contributing to the safety of the local water system. Let’s take a look!!

Stop a moment and take into account the products you use in your house to keep it what the “commercial” world tells you will make it “sparkle”. Everything from bleach for the clean clothes to oven cleaners and many other types of “cleaners” are used that can really cause indoor air pollution. But one concern is that these same cleaning agents can lead to some members of the family having breathing problems and we often don’t know why. According to Organic Consumers Association “cleaning products were responsible for nearly 10% of all toxic exposure reported in the U.S Poison Control Center” —  But what has that to do with your drinking water? When you are finished cleaning, where do you dispose of the water with the cleaning substance, that’s right, in the sink – which goes where – right into your sewer system which leads to a nearby AdobeStock_88025425_WMtreatment plant! Eventually that treated water, which has not taken out all the toxins ends up in a river, stream or ocean somewhere.  Phosphates, although banned in many states, remains in automatic dishwater detergents and is responsible for the killing of fish and other organisms. It acts as a fertilizer, developing an overgrowth of algae. So, perhaps you are part of the problem, at a very basic level, but never the less what you use in your house is important and you need to think about where the residue goes.  Everything that goes down your drain ends up being treated along with your sewage and other waste water at your local municipal treatment plant, it is then discharged into nearby water ways. Even though many of the ingredients of the chemical cleaners can be broken down, others don’t and threaten water quality, fish and other wildlife.

So what can one do and what action would be the right thing to do to know we are doing our part in keeping clean water a priority? Many of you may remember the day when the “commercial” world did not promote the types of cleaning agents used today. Our grandmothers cleaned, but how? They used nontoxic and safe at home products that one can still depend on. We at USIUSA have changed many of our habits and rely on some safe and simple ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and borax. This takes a little more scrubbing, but we assure you it is safer for your home, those breathing the chemicals, as well as the process that takes used water to your streams and rivers near you and others. Space does not allow for all the ways we clean, but it is easy to research this. Just type in to Google the product you want to change and ask for a nontoxic recipe. You can also research the dangerous ingredients in your present products. There are many sites that can give you ways to clean, pest control, and toxic food ingredients. Think about you and your family and what you are breathing and eating. Take charge of your life and don’t allow big business to tell you what to use – Check it Out!

 

 

 

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Overall preparation for what nature can throw at us is not that overwhelming but it does take a little effort. USI has a wealth of information, equipment and training for everyone about all forms of mitigation so visit our web site at www.usiusa.com and if you have a need feel free to call!

USI Understands that Survival isn’t learned from books but real world experience. This is just one area which makes Universal Survival Innovations unique in the world of training and equipment.

Check us out at: Website   Facebook   Twitter   Amazon   LinkedIn   YouTube   Shop

Author Ben Barr is a 30+ year SERE Specialist who has been a curriculum developer for the USAF Survival School, USAF Water Survival School, USAF Air Mobility Command, USMC and USN

Copyright® Universal Survival Innovations 2016

Disclaimer, Content Usage, Limitation of Liability, and Privacy Policy

 

Water – Our Most Vital Resource – What Can Be Done

 Water – Our Most Vital Resource

Pristine alpine turquoise river meandering through forested landscape in a sunny autumn day aerial view. Pristine clean nature pure water environment concept.

Pristine alpine turquoise river meandering through forested landscape in a sunny autumn day aerial view. Pristine clean nature pure water environment concept.

What Can Be Done? Water is very fluid and does not follow any borders or boundaries. Therefore, it crosses all lines from state to state, country to country.  What does this mean – that water polluted in one part of the country will become the water used in another part of the world. Think about that! If you are near a body of water in the United States and throw your empty water bottle in the water, it could just as easily end up in another part of the country. That means it is very difficult to make and impose any one set of laws to protect the world’s waterways. There are those who have tried, and we do know of a few laws that are made to try and prevent dangerous levels of water pollution. In as early as 1982, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 1978 MARPOL International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships was passed.  In 1972 in the United States the Clean Water Act and the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act was passed to protect both surface and ground water supplies. But we know that didn’t help Flint Michigan when their struggle with lead became known.

Let us look at another possible problem when it comes to pollution in water. In an article by Story Hinckley, August 5, 2016 the headline reads: How to Deal with Toxic Waste Buried in Greenland’s rapidly melting Ice Caps.  Greenland’s ice sheet is melting very rapidly and because of this a buried toxic waste is resurfacing. In 1959 Camp Century was a US military base built on and under the Greenland ice sheet to test nuclear missiles during the height of the cold war. But in 1967 the US decommissioned the base, leaving behind the various waste from a nuclear reactor such as gasoline, sewage, and radioactive coolant. “The US, along with Denmark who controlled Greenland at the time, did not think much of the buried waste, assuming continual snowfall would only bury the remnants deeper.”

Unfortunately, as the ice has begun to melt recently, scientist say the waste is only about 115 feet below the surface of the ice and will resurface in the near future. This is not only an environmental problem but a political one. William Colgan, lead author of the study told Smithsonian magazine, “We’ve gone from ‘eternity’ to ‘we really need to start thinking about this.”  If the pollution occurs, one can imagine the damage to the surrounding ecosystems. This is of great concern to the scientist, as they begin the “journey” of convincing politicians and others the potential danger this issue can bring.

So, what can one individual do or a group? The best thing anyone can do is take the dangers of having clean water for the future seriously. Educate yourself and your family members about the world’s water supply and how what you do at your home could impact someone many hundreds of miles away. Find out if your local community has a program to educate the general public about water conservation and water pollution.  dreamstimemaximum_362161Think about what you are doing, from spraying chemicals on your yard and garden to spilling gas at the station. All of those things have an impact. Be aware and do not buy plastic bottles of water, but instead buy a glass water bottle and carry it with you. Sign up with a group that cleans beaches and rivers and be sure and support laws that make it difficult for polluters to get by with throwing their trash out.

Water is our most vital resource. Take it seriously! Our next blog begins to look at the United States and conditions concerning clean water. Do you know what your water source is in your area and how safe it is?

 

 

 

 

Overall preparation for what nature can throw at us is not that overwhelming but it does take a little effort. USI has a wealth of information, equipment and training for everyone about all forms of mitigation so visit our web site at www.usiusa.com and if you have a need feel free to call!

USI Understands that Survival isn’t learned from books but real world experience. This is just one area which makes Universal Survival Innovations unique in the world of training and equipment.

Check us out at: Website   Facebook   Twitter   Amazon   LinkedIn   YouTube   Shop

Author Ben Barr is a 30+ year SERE Specialist who has been a curriculum developer for the USAF Survival School, USAF Water Survival School, USAF Air Mobility Command, USMC and USN

Copyright® Universal Survival Innovations 2016

Disclaimer, Content Usage, Limitation of Liability, and Privacy Policy

 

Water- Our Most Vital Resource – A Further Global Look

Water – Our Most Vital Resource

A Further Global Look – When we look at the two different sources of water we find two places it is found on the planet. The first source is surface water. This is the water that we can see when looking at oceans, rivers, ponds and lakes. This is where our plants and animals must rely on to find this valuable resource.  There must be plenty of clean water or both plants and animals are affected by the lack of and the pollution of their nourishment. The second source of water is groundwater. This resource is stored within the Earth’s aquifers. This is where the oceans and rivers supply drinking water for the human population.  Both of these sources have become polluted in different ways, but are critical to life on Earth. We touched on what is referred to as The Great Pacific

Tired fishing fleet getting back, France near the Atlantic ocean

Tired fishing fleet getting back, France near the Atlantic ocean

Garbage Patch in an earlier article. We will look at some of the ways the two sources of water become polluted and contaminated.

We have already touched on how large bodies of water can become polluted, using the example of the Pacific “patch”. We know that another way water becomes polluted is through a factory or waste water treatment plant carelessly releasing toxins into waterways.  Farming near lakes and streams that lead to larger bodies of water is a major concern also.  With so much commercial fertilizer being used we have an overload of nitrogen runoff leaching into the water ways.  Groundwater can equally become contaminated, although underground. When there is a chemical spill it will seep into the ground or again, agricultural runoff can find its way into the groundwater. Take a look around you and see where you feel there is neglect and possible water being in danger of becoming polluted. Possibly you do not live near a large body of water and feel that you are safe from the dangers discussed concerning your drinking water – think again! We need to look at this issue as every single living thing on the planet being affected, from you and your family to the tiniest plant in your garden. We must not forget also, that prescription drugs and other types of drug uses are finding their way into the water that we rely on to survive. None of us are immune to the dangers of not having safe water.

What we eat also becomes an issue when water is polluted. If the fish you buy has been exposed to or eaten toxins then that fish is polluted also. There are locations that do not allow fishing for this very reason, the water is too contaminated. Life cannot be sustained if the trash or toxins are abundant. Again looking at the Pacific “patch”, as we will refer to it, the impact is great and very harmful to marine wildlife.  We have heard stories about sea turtles mistaking plastic bags for food, seals and other sea animals getting caught in abandoned fishing nets. The stories are numerous and sad that more forethought has not been given to the earth as a living organ to be nurtured.

Another major effect of floating plastic in a body of water is its ability to block out sunlight from reaching photosynthetic plankton or algae. These are microscopic organisms that are a crucial function as the base of all of marine food web.  If less plankton is available animals that rely on plankton, such as turtles or fish, will decrease in numbers.  If such should happen and the population of turtles and fish were to decrease, so would the ones who depend on those sea animals for food, such as the tuna, sharks and whales. You can see the ripple effect; if marine food becomes less available the cost to buy such will increase.dreamstimemaximum_1794637

In our next article we will look at another toxic waste site that has scientist troubled.  We will also look at what is being done as far as laws and some solutions. But for now, we need to do what each of us can do by not buying and using plastic, use glass when possible, recycle what is allowed and try and keep the trash at a minimum. If you try this, you will find it will make a change in the way you shop for groceries and all buying. It takes a conscious effort to do your part, try it for one week and see what a difference you can make!

Overall preparation for what nature can throw at us is not that overwhelming but it does take a little effort. USI has a wealth of information, equipment and training for everyone about all forms of mitigation so visit our web site at www.usiusa.com and if you have a need feel free to call!

USI Understands that Survival isn’t learned from books but real world experience. This is just one area which makes Universal Survival Innovations unique in the world of training and equipment.

Check us out at: Website   Facebook   Twitter   Amazon   LinkedIn   YouTube   Shop

Author Ben Barr is a 30+ year SERE Specialist who has been a curriculum developer for the USAF Survival School, USAF Water Survival School, USAF Air Mobility Command, USMC and USN

Copyright® Universal Survival Innovations 2016

Disclaimer, Content Usage, Limitation of Liability, and Privacy Policy